It’s not just for NASA anymore. A new kind of space race has been going on in Asia for several years, as China and Japan compete to be the regional superpower. At the same time, NASA is diversifying its programs, turning a scientific eye to climate change and other topical matters.
Some critics of the Asian space race claim that it “has been darkened by suspicion, instead of cooperation,” (The Christian Science Monitor
, October 2007). Time magazine may have predicted this in 2005
when it took note of the economic race between the region’s heavyweights, Japan and China: “[P]lenty is at stake” in the space race. “Over the past few years,” the article continues, “a centuries-old rivalry between China and Japan has flared anew. While the two countries are increasingly interdependent economically, relations remain uncomfortably strained as fast-growing China begins to challenge Japan as the preeminent East Asian power.”